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Beetham, Isabella, Mrs

Date and place of birth:
Presumed 1753, place unknown
Date and place of death:
August 1825, place unknown
(fl) Unknown
Known places of work:
Known techniques:
Cut paper
Known materials:
Brass frames, pearwood, giltwood & papier-mache


Mrs. Isabella Beetham was a celebrated artist whose work on paper has been considered “among the best of [her] time”. She was active for a long period of her life, though the exact years are unknown. She was very versatile in both techniques and choice of materials, and developed considerably over her career. She was most famous for her skilled delineation of sitters’ features.

Isabella Beetham, originally Isabella Robinson, was born to a family of Jacobites and Roman Catholics. She was married to Edward Betham (original spelling) and had six children. It is thought that the two eloped. The first of her children was Jane, born in 1773, who it is believed helped her mother in her studio. Mrs. Beetham used many different framing techniques including oval hammered brass frames, oval shaped pearwood frames and papier mâché frames; the choice of frame was often depended on the silhouette materials. Seven trade labels are known.

Mrs. Beetham was a multitalented artist, who changed her style frequently. She started as a silhouettist using paper and card, but over time more work was painted on ivory and plaster. Mrs. Isabella Beetham was most well known for her faithful and emotive depictions of sitters’ features, and her skill at drawing likenesses was frequently advertised on trade labels. She was a respected and popular artist, but has become more unknown in recent years and would benefit from more research.

Additional research about Mrs Isabella Beetham:

Source: McKechnie (Author of, British Silhouette Artists and their Work 1760-1860)

Beetham, Isabella, Mrs (McKechnie Section 1)
Beetham, Isabella, Mrs (McKechnie Section 2)
Beetham, Isabella, Mrs (McKechnie Section 3)
Beetham, Isabella, Mrs (McKechnie Section 4)
Beetham, Isabella, Mrs (McKechnie Section 5)
Beetham, Isabella, Mrs (McKechnie Section 6)

Source: Joll (Hon. Secretary of the Silhouette Collectors Club and Editor of the Club's newsletter)

Beetham, Isabella, Mrs (SCC Newsletter July 2000)
Beetham, Isabella, Mrs (SCC Newsletter September 2011)

Gallery Silhouettes

Front of silhouette, in frame, with man looking right, wearing a hat.Front of Silhouette, in frame, with woman looking left and wearing a hatFront of Silhouette, in frame, with woman looking right and wearing a ribbonFront of silhouette, in frame, with man looking left.Front of Silhouette, in frame, with man looking rightFront of silhouette, in frame, with woman looking left, wearing a ribbon.